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  • Directed By: Florent-Emilio Siri
  • Written By: Doug Richardson
  • Release Date: March 11, 2005
  • Domestic Distributor: Miramax
  • Cast: Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jimmy Bennett, Ben Foster

Box Office Info:
Budget: $65 million Financed by: Stratus Film Co.; Equity Pictures
Domestic Gross: $34,639,939 Overseas Gross: $43,304,786

hostage 2005
Hostage was originally in development at MGM, when they scooped up the book rights in April 2001 for high six-figures against $1.5 million, for Bruce Willis to star.  MGM had landed Willis for two pictures and had other projects in development for him, but after two costly Bruce Willis flops, Bandits and Hart’s War they put Hostage into turnaround in 2002.  Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios picked it up from MGM and then dropped it (Revolution & Willis did end up collaborating on the mega-flop Tears of the Sun) and Hostage finally landed at the Bob Yari owned Stratus Film Co.

Stratus financed Hostage for $65 million and the German film fund Equity Pictures also contributed some capital to the production.  Harvey Weinstein took US distribution rights at Miramax when the film was still in production, after he saw 40 minutes of footage.  The Bob Yari owned Syndicate Films Intl. also sold international rights to distributors, which would help limit their exposure to the budget.

In 2004, the Weinsteins were in negotiations with parent company Disney about their future at Miramax and numerous films in their pipeline were delayed because they were unsure of the amount of finances Disney would allocate to them for the next fiscal year.  They initially put Hostage back onto the market and screened it for potential buyers, but eventually decided to hold onto the pic and scheduled a January 21, 2005 release.  Hostage was then moved to March 11, where it bowed against the animated Robots.

Reviews were mixed to poor and Hostage posted one of Bruce Willis’s worst openings for a big budget action film at $10,214,734.  It placed #4 for the weekend led by Robots.  Hostage declined 41.4% in its second frame to $5,989,221 and burned out with a weak $34,639,939.  Miramax would see back about $19 million after theaters take their percentage of the gross, less than their P&A spend and unreported acquisition cost.  Miramax sold cable rights to the USA Network for a slightly better than expected $4 million.

Hostage pulled in mostly soft numbers overseas, with $7.7 million in the UK for distributor Entertainment, as the strongest showing.  The film bombed in Australia with $1.4 million and grossed a poor $1.5 million in Italy and saw a mediocre $5 million from France.  The overseas cume was $43,304,786 across numerous distributors.

Hostage was the fifth Bruce Willis flop in a row after Bandits (2001), Hart’s War (2002), Tears of the Sun (2003) and The Whole Ten Yards (2004).  His streak of bombs then continued with 16 Blocks (2006) and Perfect Stranger (2007) before finally scoring a hit with Live Free or Die Hard (2007).

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